AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Andrew Christopher and I fish at the mouth of the Diego Martin River.
I am not the kind to fete and lime. I prefer to come outside, throw a little line, relax, barbecue. I listen to soca music but not to say I big on it. I more prefer a little old-school reggae. Bob Marley. Jah Mason.
I believe in God and an afterlife but I’m a Christian in name only. I used to go to church but I find it ain’t making no sense. Everybody know right from wrong before they do it. You don’t need someone telling you what to do every minute. You working whole week, relax yourself. Sunday is to sleep late.
My grandmother used to force me to go to church but I never liked it. Is a set of hypocrites. One morning I asked her, “When you go in the hospital, what kind of people you’s meet, if not sick people? So, when you go in church, who you go meet, if not the people who need the most amount of help?” My grandmother get real vexed with me.
We used to rent a beach house in Mayaro. I was about eight, nine, and I used to run about all over the place but, one day, I notice my grandmother standing up by the water’s edge with a rod. I say, “But you can’t catch fish with these waves!” She say, “That’s why I have a big long rod, so I could pass the waves.” She pulled up a big catfish and a stingray and I said, “I want a rod, too!” From that day, I like rod-and-reel. My mother buy my rod for me.
My grandmother, Sandra Ramsaran, was a fisherwoman, but for fun, not as a professional. My uncle actually have a boat but it just park up for a while because the trailer not working. But none of that is where I learn to fish. Out in the sea in Carenage, by CrewsInn, is where I learn to fish. You have to take a flat-bottomed boat to a little cove with three barges park up. I used to go on one of the barge and fish. Spend the night and fish again in the morning until the boat come back for me. I did that for years. Since I was about nine.
I used to go fishing on my uncle little boat, an 18-feet Boston whaler with a 25hp Mercury outboard. Five people could sit down in that boat comfortable. Put a canopy on that and you good for the day. My spot was in front, where the anchor is. If anybody get seasick, I mock them. I never get seasick.
I catch a grantaki (tarpon) big like BC Pires already. It have grantaki right there in Diego River. Big ones, and they spit out the hook plenty. They like by the river mouth. I hear people say they have too much of bone, though.
You want to know what is the funny thing about all this fishing I’s do? I don’t eat fish. I just like the adrenaline of when I catch a fish. I’s give away and stand up and watch them boys fight for fish. If I have to eat fish, I’ll eat shark, in bake-and-shark, pink salmon and grilled marlin. I don’t like the fresh taste and I don’t like bone, just like to chew and swallow.
Catch it, clean it, scale it, gut it, cook it. I could do ANYTHING with fish. Except eat it.
We only now start fishing in the Diego River, the night before we meet BC Pires who walk up and start to talk to us. We come with all our gears. We have a cooler for fish we catch and a separate cooler for drinks. But that drinks cooler, we’s keep that in the van. In case somebody come and run we, we must be able to grab everything and bus’ it in one trip. When we see BC Pires, we tell we-self he coming to tell us we have to go! We ain’t doing nobody nothing, we just come to relax we-self after work, but we probably trespassing on the river bank. In the States, somebody would probably sue us.
I used to play football but the belly now. One run up the field and, by the time I reach the next goalposts, I want to dead.
I never really watched Planet Earth. But I used to love River Monsters (TV series seeking out flesh-eating freshwater fish)!
The best part of fishing is the relaxation, chilling with my friends, sitting in the chair. Catching fish is a bonus. Cause I don’t even like fish.
The bad part of fishing is seeing how polluted the water is.
I would go fishing even if I never caught a fish. But here’s the funny thing: I’m the one who’s always catch the most fish!
A Trini is somebody who, as long as they eat ah food themselves, to hell with everybody else. I would like that selfishness to change! That’s half of the reason the country is in the state it is in now: everybody studying theyself, nobody studying they neighbour.
Trinidad and Tobago is paradise — but we’re destroying it! We literally getting away with murder here! But, because we can get away with it, don’t mean that we have to do it!
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com